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Well I don’t have much to day about the race from Saturday evening. Tony qualified 15th for the race at Richmond.  His car seemed to start off really strong as he managed to work his way up to third at one point.  Then he just started falling back further and further. Unfortunately I was not listening to his radio communications and I am unsure as to why he had this drop…I assume it was poor handling that they were chasing.

Tony finished 16th, one lap down to race winner Denny Hamlin. However- it doesn’t really matter because Richmond was the last race of the “regular” season for NASCAR. Now it get’s stressful for us fans.  Now it’s the playoffs.

Tony is seeded 6th in the Chase fifty points behind chase leader Denny Hamlin.

Notes About Richmond:

  • I was surprised that since the Richmond race fell on Patriot’s day this year that there wasn’t more patriot paint schemes ran.  I think I saw maybe two (Jeff Gordon and Kevin Conway).  I don’t count Ryan Newman’s Army paint scheme- as it was the usual Army paint scheme he runs…but if you want to count it-that is 3.
  • I was saddened to hear that Tony Stewart’s grandfather passed away the morning of the race. I was dismayed when one of the journalists (Lee Spencer) asked Tony to “reflect” on it at the post race presser all the chase drivers went through. DISMAYED. Why don’t you rub some more salt into that wound there?  Tony handled the question with the utmost professionalism…but still I am dismayed it was even brought up.  (Still shaking my head at that one).

The Chase begins Sunday September 19th at Louden, NH. GO TONY GO!

So how excited was I that Tony won? Very! WHOO HOO!

Tony and Darian seemed to both be in a good mood before they took even one green flag lap- judging by their radio banter. Darian said something about buying Tony a little pool if he brought back a trophy.  Of course I am envisioning Tony sitting in a kiddie pool but that is probably because I have small nephews who love their kiddie pool on a hot day.

As I was watching, when Tony took the lead the first time I thought to myself…YEY five points! Then he kept leading and leading. There would be some swapping back and forth here and there with Denny or Carl but then I was thinking Hey- we might get 5 more points for leading the MOST laps here.  It really wasn’t until the last 10 laps or so that I starting thinking…DAMN we have been DOMINATE ALL NIGHT  and that is when I start worrying about something going WRONG!

It seemed that the 14 pit crew was ON IT all night (ok they had ONE bad stop- but it wasn’t even THAT bad).  Tony’s only complaint pit-wise was that he was having trouble seeing his stall- but they figured that out- and between Darian counting him down into his pitstall and his dad Nelson waving a flashlight at him he was able to find it much easier on subsequent stops.

It warmed my heart to see the #14 car sooo dominate Sunday night.  I loved it and hope that there is only more of that on the horizon!!

WHOO HOO.

Anyway Congrats to Tony Stewart and Office Depot and all the other sponsors for their win at Atlanta

Tony is now 4th in the series standings and locked into the chase (shwew).

So since Tony won- there are a couple ways you too can win:

Win a Sunoco Checkered Flag autographed by race winner Tony Stewart here from SpeedTV.

You can bid on the Old Spice towel Tony used in  Victory Lane  here (proceeds to benefit The Tony Stewart Foundation).

You can win one of 14 Office Depot Racing autographed hats here at Office Depot Racing’s 14 for 14 Contest.

I celebrated Tony’s win yesterday with a trip to Office Depot- it’s one of my favorite stores anyway. BUT they didn’t have what I was looking for in stock yet but they told me it’s coming September 12th so I will be back I promise.

No no don’t panic- I am still epically single.  There is no wedding and thus no NASCAR drivers invading it. However– and I know I have mentioned this before– but I LOVE the Gillette Fusion ProGlide wedding commercial. I had never seen the extended version- which is even better. Don’t believe me? Watch for yourself:

I don’t know which parts I find more funny- Ryan Newman’s“How you doin’?” or Clint Bowyer and the bridesmaid talking about going fast…both make me laugh!!

How can you not find that humorous? If you don’t, you might want to see your doctor and see if someone stole your funny bone in the middle of the night while you were sleeping.

There is an extended version of the BigFoot ProGlide commercial too that is funny:

My favorite part there? Denny Hamlin threatening to take Big Foot’s pine cones… proclaiming him a bad loser.

You can check out these and other Gillette Fusion ProGlide commercials (the yoga and the mullet ones are both funny too) at the Gillette YouTube channel.

If you have heard Tony Stewart do any media lately- invariably someone asks him about the team’s performance and he invariably responds with a variation of  “we aren’t in panic mode yet when it comes to the points.”  Well I hate to tell him this…but I am.  I can’t tell you the number of emails and texts I have sent back and forth with my best friend Misty stating something along the lines of “AHHHH that sucked for our points! OMG What if we don’t make the chase?” To which she always replies something along the lines of “Don’t worry- you can’t keep Stewart down.” So I watch the races and hope for a top ten, top five, a win.

I learned a long time ago- not to worry too horribly much about Tony’s qualifying position.  That’s not to say that I don’t get excited when he qualifies well (like a POLE!) but when he does mediocre- I don’t fret…too much.  He qualified 17th this week.  He worked his way up a tad.  During the first caution Darian called for only 2 tires which gained Tony a whole bunch of track position.  After that Tony remained in the top ten most of the day- only falling out after one pit stop where apparently they suffered a freak mishap where a lugnut from the tire coming off the car flew into the wheel hub and had to be removed before the new tire was secured.  The race itself was pretty quiet and only had four cautions.

Tony ended up finishing 5th bringing him into 11th in the points standings and back into the race for the Chase.  Last week Tony got a pretty good finish in Pocono (3rd) but he didn’t seem pleased with how he got it. This week he seemed to feel that they deserved it:

That’s the best car we’ve had in a long time, so I’m really proud of our guys. We’re definitely gaining on it. I felt racy today. It was a pretty good day for the Old Spice/Office Depot Chevy.– Tony Stewart via Team Release

Teammate Ryan Newman finished 32nd.  He is now 15th in the points standings, falling one spot.   Race winner was Denny Hamlin.

Next week: We are off to Sonoma.  I was there last year in person. Wish I was going again this year!

First I am actually going to start with the Pit Crew Challenge…I LOVE the Pit Crew Challenge. LOVE IT! I love it so much I purposely stayed off of Twitter because I KNEW it was a delayed broadcast on SpeedTV and I wanted to watch it without knowing who the winner was. Each run I would pick a team and root for them…loud enough for Roxy to go nap in her “safe place” while I watched. The best part of this year’s Pit Crew Challenge was watching Tony Gibson’s show of excitement when Ryan Newman’s US Army pit crew bested the 48 pit crew. All three Stewart-Haas pit crews did extremely well and should be proud! Denny Hamlin’s pit crew ended up winning the Pit Crew Challenge!

I watched the Showdown and the All-Star race. And for the most part I thought the Showdown was a wee bit more exciting than the All-Star race…not that it wasn’t exciting. I love that the Pit Crews get to be a part of the driver introductions for the All-Star race. And what do I love even more? That a lot of the crews bring out goodies for the fans at Driver Intros to toss into the crowd. I saw hats, shirts, I couldn’t tell what Kyle was giving away– but it would make sense if it was M&Ms…Tony Stewart even bent down and handed a fan his full Coke bottle. Those are the kind of things fans love – trust me- I know. I am a fan…and I would love catching a hat, tshirt or even a bag of M&Ms (who doesn’t love M&Ms). I also LOVE that Kyle and his pit crew BOW during their introduction. I LOVE THAT!

The race format is confusing to my parents- but not to me. However I wasn’t not going to watch with them (hello 52 in Flat Screen with SpeedTV in HD- it made it worth explaining the format several times). I did let loose with some curse words when Tony ended up getting collected in the late race accident. I was impressed he was able to finish as well as he did (Tony came in 5th) because the car seemed pretty damaged to me. Of course a lot of the field ended up involved in that last incident.

Congrats to Kurt who brought home the cool million dollars.

NOTES ABOUT THE ALL-STAR RACE:

  • As much as I like Kyle Busch…I still don’t understand what the problem was between him and Denny. I didn’t see the offense.  I saw Denny defending his position not cutting Kyle off.  Of course I only saw what the TV showed…
  • Can ANYONE explain to me why Ryan Newman was positioned 8th on that last restart? It didn’t make any sense to me.
  • Did not Taylor Gibbs give the best invocation? That was adorable!
  • *How can I not reference the song you KNOW is running through your head when you think of the All-Star race.

You do NOT know how tempted I was to name this post “Darlington- The Track that Bitch-Slapped Tony Stewart and Team OldSpice/Office Depot.” Urg.  Seriously…when I watch a race I have notepad open on my laptop to take notes since I now have the NASCAR.COM Trackpass Scanner so I have to have my laptop up anyway. That way when I sit down later to write the post I have my thoughts from the time…and let’s just say there is one document on my desktop right now called “LadyInBlackisabitch.”  

Tony qualified 23rd - because he pulled an early qualifying run (at least that is what I like to tell myself anyway).   After the green flag dropped Tony stated that the car was loose coming out of the corners.   During the first pit stop the crew threw everything they could at the car including  changing air pressure and track bar.  What they didn’t throw at the car that first pit stop was a full load of fuel.  Whoops. Luckily for the team there was another caution not tooo long into the fuel run and they were able to top Tony off.

The next set of pitstops Tony makes a rare mistake and missed his pit box.   The official team release said it was due to congestion on pit road making it impossible for him to angle into his box correctly.   I don’t know exactly where Tony was pitting but he complained multiple times during race about not being able to see his pitboard sign and at one time told Darian that next weekend he wanted it to be a different design and color. 

Because of an accidental run in with Paul Menard Tony received cosmetic damage on his nose and someone hit the back end of his car later…which was only exacerbated by the loose off the corners condition that caused Stewart to slap the outside wall with the right rear of the car.  That pushed the rear spoiler off center which several laps later caused his  number 14 Chevrolet to spin.  The backend of that poor car was pretty trashed.  They ended up having to tape parts of the decklid to the rear window to keep it secure.  Later when Tony was describing the car to Darian what the car was doing he said that he had been driving cars along time and couldn’t figure out why it was going back and forth from loose to tight. I think that the messed up rearend of the car could have had something to do with it.  

Now when Tony’s not running well I tend to get a wee bit cranky.  I can’t imagine how but Darian and Tony sounded totally cool over the course of the entire race with each other on the radio. I mean Tony let out some frustrated words out when he spun- but heck I can’t fault him for that.  Several years ago I had a full car of people and a dude ran a red light and hit my car hard enough to spin it a quarter revolution.  I let loose a curse laden tirade that scared my sister-in-law before we got out of the car- so I definitely can not fault him there.  Tony took two pit stops to fix damage. He finished 23rd, one lap down.  He dropped to 18th in the points but is only 59 points out of the top 12. Teammate Ryan Newman posted a 9th place finish and rose to 14th in the points.

Congratulation go to Denny Hamlin, who won the race.

Notes about Darlington:

  • After the race, Tony seemed upset at himself telling the team on the radio that he was sorry and that “you all deserve better than what you got for a driver. I appreciate the hard work guys.” However I do not think that the poor luck they had was really his fault except maybe the one pit stop where the box was missed.  And everyone makes mistakes.  They are just having bad luck this season so far. 
  • Speaking of bad luck, it was reported soon after the race that Stewart-Haas Racing has lost it’s partnership with Old Spice for the 2011 season.  I really think that sucks. A team runs into a little bit of of tough spell and one of their main sponsors go running for the hills? Nice.  What makes it worse is that it’s a sponsor that Tony has had for YEARS. You can be darn sure I won’t be buying any old spice. Well and I am a girl so…that is easy to say!
  • I am concerned about points and the 14 team making the chase, but Misty likes to reassure me with these words: You can’t keep Stewart down even if you wanted too.  She likes to point out that he is the master of recovery- and he will get into his groove soon and make the chase.  I hope she is right.
  • Speaking of the Stewart being the master of recovery- when he did spin late in the race on Saturday- he did a GREAT job of keeping that car off the walls and out of any more trouble.  I mean seriously…even my dad mentioned that.
  • One of my twitter friends said it best: We will “never giving up on Tony, EVER. He is an amazing driver and he WILL win” (via @tstewartluvr14). And I believe that! He will soon!

Next weekend we are back to Sunday races with a trip to DOVER. GO TONY GO!!!!

Well I honestly can’t say a whole lot about Martinsville because I didn’t get to see it. It was rain delayed on Sunday and the DVR attempt didn’t work so honestly I have nothing. What really sucks about that is that I enjoy Martinsville- it is one of my favorite tracks to watch.

Apparently it was quite the finish- and while I have heard a couple of accounts of it from different sources they are all slightly different so I can’t really give my opinion on it.  It might have been a good thing for me that I didn’t see the race- I would have probably ended up in a bad mood since Tony didn’t do so well (sounds like he did great for the first 70 laps or so and then the handling on the car went away or changed and he and the Office Depot/Old Spice crew fought to chase it all day. Tony ended up finishing 2 laps down in 26th.  He dropped to 8th in the points standings.  Teammate Ryan Newman however, bagged his first top 5 of the season, finishing 4th at Martinsville. Denny Hamlin won the race. 

Easter weekend is an off week. Then NASCAR heads to another favorite track of mine: Phoenix.

It’s been awhile since I talked NASCAR commercials.  This year has given us a fair share of new ones to consider…and I am prompted to post this entry that has been rolling around in the cargo area that is my brain for about a month now by an email from NASCAR.COM announcing that the winner of their Daytona Commercial Showcase was the David Ragan UPS Three-Wheelin’ Ad (Seriously?? That one?? Did my votes not count because that commercial did nothing for me).

Since I don’t agree with the winner, I am going to tell you Amy’s favorites of the newest round of NASCAR commercials:

1. The Coca-Cola Drivers Commercial. First off you HAVE to give these guys props.  They are race car drivers NOT singers- but there they are putting it all out there.  I have seen the behind the scenes video and it shows that our favorite coke drivers are singing it themselves.  I can’t imagine doing that and then having it broadcast on TV. I LOVE to sing, especially in the car (because I am alone and who can complain except except on the rare occasion I have the sunroof open).  I also like that the commercial incorporates some of the crew chiefs like Darian Grubb and Greg Zipadelli. By far a favorite. (By the way you can hear your favorite coke family driver sing the whole commercial alone if you want just go to MyCokeRewards.com/Nascar and scroll your cursor over the driver you want to hear.  I say Tony and Elliott Sadler are the best).

2. Second  place is a tie but it goes to the same company- Toyota. I can’t decide which I like better Denny Hamlin asking, “Who doesn’t love love?” Or Kyle Busch driving the car with kitties, bunnies and little baby seals. That is some funny stuff…especially the look on Kyle’s face as he is driving, with his head in that kitty cat helmet…Oh I chuckle just thinking about it.

3. My third favorite is the UPS Delivery commercial- I don’t know why but the fact that Santa gets all aggro and tries to climb the fence while Mercury and some of the other delivery guys try to keep him from going over cracks me up.

Now for my least favorite commercials:

Hands down my least favorite is the Martin Truex Jr. Napa commercial.  Mainly the part that bugs me the most are the two Napa guys at the end.

But the Sprint Jimmie Johnson commercial bugs me too…for two reasons. Reason 1: why is Jimmie playing golf in a bathrobe but he’s got full on pjs on underneath the bathrobe? Who does that unless they are in the artic? Reason 2: Wouldn’t everyone they call be “the real Jimmie Johnson” and not just Jimmie Johnson the race car driver? Just sayin’.